Okello-Obura, C. (2018). Documenting Agricultural Indigenous Knowledge and provision of access through Online Database platform, Library Philosophy and Practice
The basic component of any country’s agricultural knowledge system is its agricultural indigenous knowledge (AIK). It encompasses the skills, experiences and insights of people, applied to maintain or improve their livelihood. Regrettably, today, many AIK systems are at risk of becoming extinct because of rapidly changing natural environments and fast pacing economic, political, and cultural changes on a global scale. Practices vanish if not documented and this curtails knowledge growth. Sometimes, many AIK practices disappear only because of the intrusion of foreign technologies that promise short-term gains or solutions. The tragedy of the impending disappearance of AIK is most obvious to those who have developed it and make a living through it. But the implication for others can be detrimental as well, when skills, technologies, artifacts, problem solving strategies and expertise are lost. Because of the worry for the extinction of AIK, this study was instituted to document AIK among rural communities in three districts in Uganda and design an online platform for accessibility.
Six graduate students from Agriculture and Information Science were trained as research assistants and later paired up for data collection in each of the three districts. To ensure accuracy in data collection, the researchers visited the research assistants in the field. Data were validated by organizing a workshop with farmers in one of the participating districts. After the analysis of the data, an online data-base that captures and distributes AIK was developed (http://agshare-ik.mak.ac.ug/). This approach is considered important because unless efforts are made to capture oral/indigenous community based AIK the region runs the risk of losing this undocumented expertise and cultural idiosyncrasies as western methods are increasingly adopted.